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Tuesday, February 26, 2013
The consensus in New York is building - Quote of the Day
What is new about the large corporate quarters now under construction is that they are all being planned and designed in a “whole cloth” fashion in a single glass and steel style for a single class of user and resident. The first of these zones—the World Trade Center Complex, Hudson Yards, Cornell’s Roosevelt Island technology campus, Atlantic Yards, and, if the mayor’s planning and real estate gurus have their way, the Sunnyside Yards in Queens—all have precedents in exurban corporate campuses and districts across American.
But in New York these corporate landscapes have a unique profile—except for the Cornell campus—in that they are built on concrete pads above parking and transportation lines that link them to the surrounding city and boost and their values as real estate. Like Battery Park City, which may be considered a precursor and a model for these developing quarters, they are purposely isolated and apart form the surrounding city like a suburban, gated community. The World Trade Center is the first of these places to arise in New York, and though it has the powerful Michael Arad memorial at its center and humanly scaled Snøhetta museum, we won’t really understand this landscape until the scaffolding and chain link fence come down on its perimeter. Though its plan partially inserts the old Manhattan grid into the project, from the look of it, it will be a monstrously scaled landscape of foreboding spaces, underground shopping, and bland skyscrapers landing on bare concrete. The quality of the area is typified by Tower One: the 1,776-foot-tall boring and bland middle finger to the rest of the city. This landscape represents a sad lost opportunity for what could have been a model of a mixed-use quarter that resembles the best parts of this metropolis. But this type of attention was never devoted to that other corporate city on a concrete pad, Hudson Yards, which seems to be planned for a commercial district of Houston rather than New York. The High Line will of course meander through this area and it will have at least one fascinating new urban type, Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Culture Shed, which will roll along tracks just next to the elevated park. But from the looks of the shiny real estate presentation drawing of the area, it will likely be the most corporatized landscape this city has ever seen. Some may consider Hudson Yards a “planned” community but in truth it is the result of a process that only looks at the bottom line (and the Houston streetscape) not what this city has been at its best or might be at its best in the future.
February 26, 2013 in Architecture, Current Affairs, New York, Quote of the Day, Urbanism | Permalink
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